Dec 10

Automating with vRealize Orchestrator

I was recently convinced by Hersey to present at our Hampton Roads VMUG on automation and orchestration.  As this is still a relatively misinterpreted topic, I took the opportunity to differentiate between automating tasks, and combining those tasks to orchestrate complex workflows, along with some examples. What I gathered from the session is that there is a general lack of experience with today’s automation and orchestration platforms, but tons of genuine interest. I’ve felt late to the game the more I learn, but perhaps I’m right on time. Not enough people are headed down this path yet, so If I can help someone get started, that’s fantastic.

Automation and orchestration are not new, but if it’s new to you, rest assured there will never be a bad time to dive in. The toolsets for datacenter and cloud continue to grow in popularity and maturity, bringing features that make the process easier than ever before. These advancements are heavily driven by the software-defined era, where server/storage/network/security solutions are as much software now as the applications running on them. Include the fact that IT shops are having to ultra standardize in order to survive, and you get vendors that buy-in and start developing on these toolsets to ease management and enable automation of their products.

This has opened the door for admins and engineers to begin ‘programming’ their work to increase the speed of deployments. Speed up infrastructure deployments, speed up application releases, everybody’s happy on the path to devops. I realized this through the monotonous yet complex work of building/retiring servers and storage. I wanted to eventually make this process self-service for IT. Our environment was primed and the tools were already owned, just needed to begin building the automation. I went for the workflow platform native to our virtualized infrastructure, and extensible enough to the rest, vRealize Orchestrator (formerly vCenter Orchestrator).


Enough with theory though, let’s move on to a brief overview of Orchestrator, along with some examples of how my developer-in-crime and I have put it to work for us. Hopefully this will spark some ideas out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11

VNXe3200 and Unisphere Central

Unisphere Central is an EMC product which enables centralized management of multiple VNXe, VNX, CLARiiON CX4 and XtremSW Cache Cards through a single console. The Unisphere Central allows administrators to get alerts, capacity and performance metrics, group systems, and launch Unisphere on remote VNXe or VNX systems and XtremSW Management Center GUI for the XtremSW Cache Cards from a central management interface.

This can be pretty handy if you are managing multiple EMC arrays.

EMC Unisphere Central is deployed from an OVA which can be downloaded from EMC’s support site (an EMC Account login is required). During the OVA deployment you are asked to provided the management IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.

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Nov 05

vExpert 2015 Applications Open Now

Application submission for the vExpert 2015 program is now open! vExpert Applications will be open until midnight PST December 12, 2014.


If you have participated in and contributed to the VMware community (blogging, tweeting, presenting, etc) over the past year be sure to submit your application.

The full vExpert 2015 announcement can be found on the VMTN blog at

Go submit your application. GOOD LUCK!

Oct 20

Hampton Roads VMUG Meeting October 22

The next HR VMUG meeting will be held on October 22 from 6 PM to 8 PM at GameWorks in Chesapeake.

The address is 1401 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23320. GameWorks was previously known as Jillian’s and is in the same location in the Greenbrier Mall.

The agenda for the meeting is:

6:00 to 6:30 – Meet and Greet, VMUG News
6:30 to 7:00 – Hersey Cartwright will discuss news from VMworld
7:00 to 7:30 – Timothy Gawne will discuss VMware Orchestrator
7:30 to 8:00 – Closing Statements, Networking

Room and refreshments sponsored by ABS Technology Architects.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the Hampton Roads VMUG workspace.

Hope to see you there!

Oct 19

New to Virtualization – Getting Started Resources

I have been teaching VMware classes for the VMware IT Academy Program at Tidewater Community College for the past couple years. In the past my students have been mostly IT professionals working with virtualization day to day looking to expand their knowledge and work towards the VCP or VCAP certifications. This semester is a bit different since many of the students are either completely new to IT, are currently working in a different technology silo (storage, networking, etc), or are working in IT at a company which has not yet virtualized any of its infrastructure.

In the ICM class there is an assumption made that the students have at least a high-level understanding of what virtualization is and how it works. Since this may not always be the case the first module of the class provides a high level overview of the software defined datacenter, but due to the amount of material to cover (and the assumption) there is not a tremendous amount of class time devoted to this module. One of the benefits of the TCC vITA ICM class is time. We cover the course material over a semester, instead of just a week, because of this we are able to spend a bit more time on each of the course modules.
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Oct 08

vCoffee Links #10 – Long time coming…

Since VMworld 2014 I have been busy, busy, busy… not a bad thing have just let a few things slip, specifically posting stuff. Have had a lot going on and been doing some pretty interesting things over the past few weeks and my calendar is full for the next few weeks to come. First though some welcome PTO next week during which my wife and I will be taking our annual trip down to Daytona Beach for Biketoberfest 2014. Really, really, really (did I mention really) looking forward to the ride and enjoying some downtime.

Now go grab a cup of coffee, check out this awesome video of Jasmine Cain (who I am looking forward to seeing at Biketoberfest)

and enjoy the links…

vCoffee Links is a regular feature on vCoffee Links features news and links of interest from the past week or so. If you have something interesting to add please submit it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @herseyc.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 25

VNXe3200 – First Customer Install – FC and iSCSI access to the same LUN.

Last week I installed a new EMC VNXe3200 for a customer. This was my first installation of the VNXe3200 for production use and the first time I had configured a VNXe for Fiber Channel connectivity. Things went without a hitch. The VNXe3200 is just as easy to setup and configure as the other models in the VNXe line-up but it is packed with a ton of really nice features.

In this implementation the VNXe3200 is connected 8Gb Fiber Channel directly to the Cisco 6248 Fabric Interconnects. There is no Fiber Channel switching outside of the FIs, so the FIs were configured in Fiber Channel Switching mode. A mix of SAS, NL-SAS, and SSDs drives are installed in the VNXe. The SSDs have been configured for FAST Cache and Performance and Capacity Pools were created with the SAS and NL-SAS drives with FAST Cache enabled on these pools. Storage is presented to a number of B200 M3 blades… but that is not the cool part.

Part of the project was to migrate VMs off an existing Dell Equalogic SAN. This migration needed to be accomplished with minimal downtime. This is where things got kind of cool. I wanted to be able to enable the migrations with minimal modifications to the design of the new environment (less to clean up afterwards). The VNXe3200 allows you to present LUNs to both Fiber Channel and iSCSI connected hosts – at the same time. I created a LUN and presented it to the new UCS B-Series hosts via Fiber Channel and the the legacy Dell hosts via iSCSI.

The image below is a screenshot showing how the host access is set up for a LUN which is to be presented to both environments. Host access is configured for hosts connected via FC and hosts connected via iSCSI. (The warning beside the two iSCSI hosts is because the host initiators have not yet logged in).


The VNXe was connected to the existing iSCSI network and the iSCSI Targets on the VNXe were then configured on the legacy ESXi hosts. After a storage re-scan the VMFS datastores which had been configured on the new UCS ESXi hosts were now accessible from the legacy hosts. From there we just used Storage vMotion to move the VMs from the datastores on the Equalogic to the new datastores on the VNXe3200.

Once all the VMs had been Storage vMotioned to the new datastores, each VM was shutdown, moved into the new cluster of UCS ESXi hosts, and powered back on. We could have done this live if we had added the new hosts to the same cluster as the legacy hosts but since the processors in the new hosts were a much newer model we set a higher EVC Mode on the new Cluster. The downtime was less than a couple of minutes per VM.


Afterwards just unmount the datastores from the hosts in the legacy cluster, detach the device from the iSCSI storage adapter, remove the iSCSI targets, re-scan, and then remove the host access for the iSCSI connected hosts. No changes were necessary on the new UCS hosts.

Aug 26

VMworld 2014 – So far

Well I have been in San Francisco since Saturday and I am already exhausted. Lot of great tech and even more great people. VMworld 2014 “officially” kicked off today but there was a lot of things going on before the conference. This is my first VMworld and I was not exactly sure what to expect, but so far the conference has been a great experience. Just a short post about what I have been up to so far.

On Sunday I stopped in the VCDX Study Session sponsored by Nutanix. Pretty cool thing they have going on there giving tips and letting future VCDX’s practice parts of the defense. It was a huge help to me when I was preparing and I am glad to see they are continuing on with it.


Sunday was also the v0dgeball tournament and that was a fun time for a great cause. I think I heard them announce that they had raised over $20k for the Wounded Warrior Project. That is amazing!

Sunday evening was the VMunderground party. This was a really great time! Awesome venue and lots of great people. A lot of folks there that I have known for a long time only by their Twitter handle, it was great to finally meet them in real life. Big kudos to the folks that organized this.

This morning I had the pleasure of having pCoffee (Physical Coffee) with the vCoffee folks that I have been virtually sharing my Saturday morning coffee with for about the last year and a half or so. @coolsport00, @susangude, @mattvogt, and @tscalzott it was great to finally meet you guys. I hope we can meet up again for coffee before the week ends.


After coffee this AM, I went to the general session. Then on to a few sessions. Attended a great Storage DRS deep dive session and a really good VDPA/vSphere Replication session. I also attended a VSAN session which was OK but I had already attend a similar one at PEX a few months back and it was really the same information.

I roamed around the Solution Exchange for a bit, picked up some swag, and a few great vExpert gifts (Thanks Tegile, SimpliVity, and COHO Data). Then I spent a little time in the hang space chatting with folks and listening to the vBrownBag Tech Talks – a lot of great topics be presented there as well. Saw a pretty good Tech Talk on the new EVO:Rail – pretty interesting new platform.

Headed out to a few parties tonight but none of them were really my kind of scene (not sure I have a scene but if I do it isn’t that). Too crowded and too loud. All good cause I am exhausted anyway so figured I would type this out, call it an early night, and try to get a good nights sleep. Looking forward to tomorrow…

Aug 20

vCoffee Links #9 – VMworld 2014 Countdown – 8/20/2014

Just a few more days till I am off to SFO for VMworld 2014!

This will be my first VMworld and I am really excited about attending. Looking forward to meeting up with a bunch of folks that I really only know by their twitter handle (especially the #vCoffee folks). Also looking forward to the sessions. My session agenda is packed and includes NSX, DR/BC, Storage, and a bunch of other VMware goodness. I am also really looking forward to attending the #vBrownBag Tech Talks in the hang space.


I arrive in SFO mid-afternoon on Saturday. If you are going to be around to chat, grab a cup of coffee, or maybe get dinner hit me up on twitter @herseyc. Look forward to seeing everyone there!

In the past I have attended VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) and I expect VMworld will be similar just on a much larger scale. If it is even remotely similar to PEX it will be a week of knowledge, good times, great people, and very little sleep.

I am planning (going to try to stick to the plan) a VMworld day in review post every evening during the conference, so be sure to stop by and check it out.

Now go grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the links…

vCoffee Links is a regular feature on vCoffee Links features news and links of interest from the past week or so. If you have something interesting to add please submit it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @herseyc.
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Jul 29

VNXe 3200 – It’s Here!

You may remember a short time ago @sakacc announced his Summer Gift Part 2 – 10 VNXe arrays free to play with for volunteers! I quickly sent an email and a week or so later I was notified that I had been selected to receive one of the new VNXe 3200s!!! A big thanks to @sakacc and EMC for putting together this great opportunity.

Last Friday the VNXe 3200 was waiting for me on my doorstep when I arrived home from work :)

Saturday morning I got it set up in my lab, downloaded the EMC VNXe Connection Utility, and configured a static management address.

The VNXe 3200 I received has two SPs, six 600 GB 15K SAS drives, and five 100 GB EFDs.


Went through the basic setup of DNS and NTP. That is all for now, there is an issue with the licensing but EMC is working through that and it should be squared away soon. Looking forward to messing with it, especially the FAST Suite.

If there is anything specific you would like to see or if you have any questions or thoughts on labs to help demonstrate the abilities of the VNXe 3200 drop me a comment or hit me up @herseyc.

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